Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

How to Cite a PDF in MLA, APA and, Chicago

H

You’ve found the best source ever, but it is a PDF. Don’t overlook it just because you are unsure of how to cite it. Find out how to cite your PDF in your references, no matter which style you are using.

Students citing a PDF in bibliography

Citing a One Author PDF

Setting up the citation in your references for a PDF is similar to an e-Book or a digital document. However, depending on different variables, like number of authors, this can vary for each different style. No matter what, you’ll include the elements:

  • Author(s) name
  • Title of the work
  • Date of work
  • Creator
  • URL or DOI
  • Medium (optional)

Use these basic elements for any citation style. MLA 8 now uses a container system, which provides flexibility while using nine core elements.

Examples

APA:

Doe, J. B. (2010). Disease and lifestyles [PDF File]. New England Journal of Medicine 14(8). Retrieved from www.nejm.org

 

Note: Do not place a period after the URL.

 

MLA:

Murphy, John A. How to Cite the Bible. Messiah College, 2011, https://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/1647/bible_cite.pdf.

 

Note: MLA no longer requires an access date for undated articles. It is optional, however, if you feel it is helpful to your reader.

 

Chicago:

Reilly, Dan. Relationships. PDF file. September 25, 2017 .http://www.relationships.com/amazon.pdf.

 

Note: Chicago style requires you to add https://doi.org to DOIs.

 

Multiple Authors

Multiple authors will make the setup of your first section unique. How unique will depend on the number of authors.

APA

If there are seven or less authors, you include all the names with a ampersand (&) instead of and.

  • Doe, J. B. & Dina A. B.

For PDFs with more than seven authors, you will include no more than seven authors with an ellipsis before the final author.

  • Ann, A.B., Bam C. D., Verry, L. L., Harry, A. A., Stan, J. A., Thomas, S. T., . . . Roberts, L. H.

MLA/Chicago

MLA format will use an (and). For three or more authors, you’ll add the et al.  

  • Two authors: Charles, Carl A., and Barry Jackson.
  • Three or More: Charles, Carl A. et al.

No Author

Having an author is one thing, but sometimes there isn’t an author for informational texts. Style guides dictate in this situation that the title will become the first line.

Examples

APA:

Disease and lifestyles [PDF File]. (2010). New England Journal of Medicine 14(8). Retrieved from www.nejm.org.

 

MLA:

How to Cite the Bible. Messiah College, 2011, https://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/1647/bible_cite.pdf.

 

Chicago:

Relationships. PDF file. September 25, 2017. www.relationships.com/amazon.pdf.

Perfect PDFs

Citing PDFs can be hard. But with the right tools, you can make these digital documents cited perfectly. Have fun perfecting your PDF citation.

Related Articles:

About the author

Jennifer Betts

Jennifer Betts is a diverse educational writer who has been published in multiple online forums. She also works part time as a substitute teacher with seven different school districts. Building on skills gained from a brother and son with learning disabilities, she has been a tutor and mentor for disadvantaged children for more than 20 years. Interested in learning more about Jennifer Betts, just ask.

Add comment

nine + 14 =